Reviews of Revelation Space (2000)
Review by clong (2007-04-06)
I thought the first two thirds of this books was superb, and the last third was rather disappointing. At one point in the story I was thinking this is the best space-opera-with-a-hard-science-veneer I have read since A Deepness in the Sky. But in the end Revelation Space is a much less satisfying read on several levels.
The novel follows three main characters who start on vastly different paths but inexorably are brought together as the story builds to its climax: Dan Sylveste, the son of an infamous genetics experimenter, who is driven to unearth the remains of an ancient civilization nobody else seems to care about; Ana Khouri, one time soldier and current assassin-for-hire who finds herself serving a mysterious new master; and Ilia Volyova, cyborg weapons master to a massive interstellar ship. These characters are initially interesting and enigmatic (as are many of the supporting cast around them), but I found them to be less and less sympathetic as the story progresses. And I found the doomed romance between Pascale and Sylveste to be utterly unconvincing.
The plotting is at times clever, and offers a few nice surprises, and more than its fair share of inventive and intriguing concepts. But, as mentioned above, I felt the ending failed to deliver on the early promise of the book (indeed the ending seemed to make much of the earlier plot largely irrelevant).
Despite my disappointment with some aspects of the book, there is no denying that this is pretty impressive for a first novel. I will definitely plan to read more by Reynolds.